After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the forty first letter I wrote. Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.
07/05/02 – July 4th at Dell
Dear Friends from Sooner Plant,
It has been a couple of weeks since I have written, and I know everyone is wondering what happened to me. (as if anyone REALLY cares). Well. Last week I was in training all week.
No. It wasn’t SQL training. I have had enough of that. I started my project this Monday using all my extensive SQL knowledge. — Last week I took a course called “Mastering MFC development using Visual C++”. (I know this sounds like a lot of fun, and all of you wish you could have attended. But just in case you are wondering — MFC stands for Microsoft Foundation Classes).
It was an all week course, and was very intense. I studied so hard for that class that I forgot all the SQL stuff I have been learning the last month. Then this Monday when I came to work, I had to start forgetting what I learned last week, so I could start remembering what I learned during the last month, so I could do my job.
Everything turned out ok, after I sat and stared blindly at the computer screen for 3 or 4 hours, and then it all came back to me and left me at the same time. Anyway, besides those first 3 or 4 hours, the rest of the week has been pretty good.
Of course, this has been a holiday week, and as you will notice by the date on this letter, I came to work on the day after July 4th. I had vacation, I just didn’t want to use it for this week. — Anyway. Today has been pretty quiet since most people are gone today.
My manager came by a little while ago (around 2:00), and told me I should go home for the day. So I thought this would be the perfect time to write to you guys. — That is, after I finished my all important “Weekly Status Report” where I fill in all the important things I did this week.
For instance, I put in there that on Monday morning, I sat in front of my computer for 3 or 4 hours and forgot everything I learned from the previous week while I remembered everything I had learned from the previous month, so I could perform my present job. (I think in computer terms that would be called “simultaneous uploading and downloading”, though I have heard “downloading” used for doing other things, that don’t usually take place in one’s cubicle — maybe a stall, but not a cubicle).
I should have known 2 weeks ago when the weather man said that we had a deficit of 11 inches of rain for the year. — I should have taken that as my cue to prepare for the onslaught that was about to occur. — Do you think I did? — No.
I didn’t even remember to wash my car before it all came down. — This morning on the way to work the weather man said that we now have a surplus of 4 inches of rain for the year. — Hmmm. That means that we’ve had somewhere around 15 inches of rain in the past 2 weeks.
Of course, I think that’s only how much they could measure after their rain gauge overflowed into the street causing the storm drains to flood. — You know, you would think they would get a larger rain gauge.
Anyway. Needless to say, We have survived another drencher. I think I’m getting used to eating seafood, (or at least drinking seawater). I think the water from the ocean was evaporating so fast, and raining on Austin so quickly, that it was like one giant wave coming from the ocean. — That would explain all the fish lying all over the place.
Well, since we couldn’t go outside to have our Fourth of July team builder because of all the rain, we just had it in a large conference room at the other end of the building where I work. — We did all sorts of team-building activities that have been carefully researched and crafted to optimize our team-building experience.
First we ate lunch. (That’s always a good team-building activity). Then we broke up into teams, and then we put a bunch of chairs into circles and turned on some music and played Musical Chairs!!! — Boy. I could feel those team-spirit vibes just oozing from the boom-box as we all marched around in a big circle waiting patiently for the music to stop.
In case you don’t remember how to play musical chairs…. When the music stops everyone is supposed to sit down in a chair, only there is one less chair than there are people. The person that is unable to find an empty chair, or is not big enough or aggressive enough to push someone else out of their chair, has to leave the game. Then one chair is removed and the game continues until only the biggest meanest brutiest person is left sitting in the last chair.
Then you go play something else. — In this case, there was a ping-pong tournament, and a game of Pictionary.– Both highly effective “Team-building” activities. — I know. I can see all those wheels spinning in your heads now, picturing how great your next Men’s Club lunch could be, if only you guys could play Musical Chairs too.
Note to reader: To learn more about Power Plant Men’s Club events, read this post: Power Plant Men’s Club Prizes and a Story of Luck.
Believe me. It’s more team-building than a person needs in one day. — Personally, I have found that sitting at Men’s Club eating Barbecue and asking the guy next to you to pass the napkins has always been a great team-building experience. — Oh. We did have Barbecue too. — And smoked chicken. — Both great team-building lunch items. They are good for conversation starters. (But of course, all of you know that already).
Well, I had better go. It is good to hear from you guys. I hope everything is going well. I hope Conoco stays online (for your sake).
Note to reader: To see why Power Plant Men would be concerned about Conoco read this post: What Coal-Fired Power Plant Electricians Are Doing at an Oil Refinery.
Your Friend from down in Austin,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Customer Experience / Warranty Cost
Dell Computer Corporation